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Alison Hardcastle

Big cartel has so many great shops, like this one where Alison Hardcastle sells the prints, cards, postcards and books that she makes. Have a look…

Alison Hardcastle

Alison Hardcastle

Alison Hardcastle

Alison Hardcastle

Based in the UK, this talented designer, illustrator, printmaker and handmade book artist screenprints from her studio for her shop in addition to her freelance editorial work. If that were not enough, she also exhibits at book fairs, holds workshops in her studio and teaches illustration at the Edinburgh College of Art. What a wonder woman! And don’t you love her clean, modern design sensibility?

(alison hardcastle)

Posted in Arts + Crafts on February 12, 2010

Blue Wishbone Chairs

I wish I may, I wish I might, I wish I could sit on a blue wishbone chair tonight! Yeah, corny I know. Sorry. These are, hands down, the most beautiful chairs that I’ve laid eyes on in a very long time. Danish furniture designer Hans J. Wegner continues to influence furniture designers inspiring their work today. He showed us what comfort, refined elegance and quality can look like. For the iconic Wishbone Chair’s 60th anniversary, Carl Hansen & Son is releasing 12 new colors at $930 USD each. The first set are four different tones of blue, then in May they’ll launch a green palette followed by another palette in October.

Blue Wishbone Chairs

Wishbone chairs

Wishbone chair

“The Dean of The Chair, Hans Wegner made over five hundred Wishbones in his life. A master craftsman, his love of natural materials is evident in the woods and rush used in his pieces. it is difficult to isolate one chair as his masterpiece, but his most popular is the Wishbone, so named because of the shape of its back. Wegner paid utmost attention to the comfort of his wooden seating, ensuring the sitter would be happy in them for hours and that each chair was as beautiful from the back as from the front. Today manufacturer Carl Hansen still makes the Wishbone exactly as Wegner did, with the highest quality woods and natural materials, ensuring each piece is both a classic and also eco-friendly.”

Stunning!

(images: carl heansen & son)

Posted in furniture on February 12, 2010

Lütt & Fien Shop

Today we’re all going to visit Hamburg, Germany to visit a lovely little shop that also functions online for those not living nearby. You may or may not have heard of this city before but if not it’s located an hour north of where I live and is close to the Danish border, near to the sea. It is commonly known for it’s fish market, gorgeous old town hall, and for being a popular media city along with it’s growing design scene. Lütt & Fien is a shop located in the Eppendorf district on Erikastrasse that owners, Ulrike Petri und Patrick Seegers, describe as a, “Typical, old and charming Hamburgian street, filled with special shops.”

Lütt & Fien: Hamburg

Lütt & Fien, which opened in November 2008, carries toys, accessories and furniture for children and adults who are young at heart. Their offerings reflect a combination of things that they love — classic design from their own childhood and new designs from established and emerging independent artists and designers both near and far with an attention to quality, practical design and fair production methods.

I asked Ulrike and Patrick a few questions about their shop, so I’ll share those answers with you now. First of all, the name. What does it mean?

L & F: Lütt und Fien means small and fine in Plattdeutsch, a dialect of northern Germany. It is a play on words. It can mean our specific products are small and fine, or that we have fine things for small people.

Lütt & Fien: Hamburg

And next I wondered what personally inspires them about living in Hamburg?

L & F: We are fascinated with the calm and sensitive soul of the original inhabitants of Hamburg. They possess the character of the harbor of Hamburg; the bridges, cutters and container ships; the old sailor stories from around the world; the odor of distant lands and the stiff breeze that always blows.

I also asked why they opened a shop, of course.

L & F: While taking our design courses we were preoccupied with this question: Do durable products have to be boring? Every classic design gives us the answer: NO, of course not! We, as trained designers, are always searching for functional, skillfully crafted solutions made with great material. What we are interested in is not a particular style. We find it more exciting to assemble things from different times and production backgrounds. We also look for rarities and special items, and focus on unconventional arrangements, like children do, and we don’t look for brand names or status symbols. The cultural quality of growing up with not much, but having long-lasting and aesthetically remarkable toys, is what we want to support with Lütt und Fien.

And when shopping I always want to know which lines are the most popular in a shop. Here’s what they had to say.

L & F: We offer many items from small traditional workshops, like Sirch, Lotte Sievers Hahn, Kösen and Feiler, just to name a few. We also provide products made by young designers, and our own developed brand, Lütt und Fien, which you can only buy from us.

Lütt & Fien: Hamburg

Lütt & Fien: Hamburg

I finally inquired as to how they want their customers to feel upon entering their shop as I think every shop owner should consider this.

L & F: We want to pass on to our customers the impression of clearness and openness, but simultaneously give them grounds for discovery and a closer look. That is the reason why we always decorate our shop windows with little stories or worlds.  We have created a place where children and their parents (especially the grandparents) stand and are fascinated.

I love all of the wooden toys, which is quite common in Germany — you can find wooden toys in major department stores and small shops which I think is really nice because back in Boston most of the wooden toys I found were very expensive because they were mostly imports from Europe. Some of my favorite things include: The little kissing dolls available in red/white or blue/white, the Yoshitomo Nara dog on wheels (I want this and I don’t even have children), and all of the mini kitchen gadgets. When I visit Hamburg again I am going to visit this store and check out their district to see if I can spot some other fresh design stores to blog about. :)

A big thanks to the Lütt & Fien for visiting us here today — and if you are interested in something that you see on their website (it’s in German, sorry for that), you can always email them in English and see if they’ll ship it to where you live. (post AT luettundfien.de)

(images: Lütt und Fien)

Posted in Shop Tours on February 12, 2010

Doing Is Believing

What a great thing to consider on a Friday as we approach a new weekend, Doing Is Believing! It’s so true, isn’t it? I was going to post something love-related having to do with couples, but you know I think loving yourself is more important than even loving another person and with so many single ladies (and men!) out there trying to find a match and put a ring on it, this weekend can really bite hard. I remember when I was single how alone I felt in stores with all that candy and romance in the air. So we’re not going to talk about love and hearts and how wonderful it is to find the perfect someone.

Keep Calm Gallery

Let’s think about loving ourselves, showing care and appreciation for who we are, and believing in our hard work and talents. So no red + pink today on this blog, not because I don’t believe in the power of loving someone else (I do! Very much!) but because I want to promote love for yourself instead. To love yourself first and be your own best friend is also a great way to attract the love of others. So, if you’re single give yourself a glass of champagne and chocolates and toast to your life. Buy yourself a dozen roses. Call your best friend who won’t be romantically matched on Sunday and make a date with them to see a movie. If you just broke up with someone watch the terminator. If you feel anger at someone watch a comedy. Do something to make yourself happy if the 14th depresses you. Doing is believing – trust yourself and do what makes you happiest single or partnered up. Have faith in that!

(image: keep calm gallery)

Posted in uncategorized on February 12, 2010

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